Let’s go back to 2005. My Chemical Romance has released two albums fueling the edgy fire of Myspace teens. Hot Topic is preparing to hit its peak. Life is good.
These teens belted songs about mental health and gay romance as a rebellion against the Abercrombie & Fitch scented clothing poisoning their schools, not to mention their nostrils. Nothing was more important than their sky-high hair and problematic bands.
Back in 2020, a group of teens on TikTok dubbed the new decade the Rawring ‘20s, a riff on the historical era of the 1920s combined with a common 2000s internet meme. It had been decided: scene kids and emo are back with a vengeance.
The rise of Y2K and McBling fashion solidified the movement into a certifiable fashion trend. The emo music scene, however, started to feel cheap and derivative.
The general public seems stuck on two artists when thinking of emo music: Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker. Despite Barker’s incredible contributions to music, ranging from The Aquabats to Blink-182, he shouldn’t be all we think of. I don’t even want to think of Kelly as emo, even though he does meet the questionable ethics criteria that old emo bands set in stone.
They’re not the only ones tainting the current emo music scene. TikTok has spawned a rather irritating trend of creating unoriginal and gross music cosplaying as emo. Capitalizing on trauma bonding trends, these self-described artists create soulless music that makes me pessimistic for the future of emo.
Pop-punk emo wannabe artist Aryia, @aryiaofficial on TikTok, is the most repeat offender, offering up songs he claims are “grippy sock anthem(s),” referring to the socks given to patients in mental health facilities, or just ripping off Fall Out Boy titles. His songs are rife with uncomfortable sex jokes and devoid of any emotion. Is this really what we want in any music scene?
Thankfully, there are some truly incredible bands that have formed out of the love for emo music. Pop-punk power group Magnolia Park rose out of the TikTok craze to create some of the best emo music since the 2000s golden age. While yes, it does sound a little clean for my taste, they’re creating solid music with the right balance of serious and silly messaging. Emo hardcore band the Nova Twins and plain hardcore band Fever 333 have taken over my headphones recently, offering the soul of emo music while adding something fresh.
At the end of the day, all trends derive from some older fad, catapulting us into a cycle of repetitive fashion innovation. I hope that music doesn’t follow this same scheme.